Games against both teams in the 2007 National Championship Game, the school’s first-ever game in the state of Washington and an appearance in the Legends Classic highlight Tennessee’s 2007-08 schedule that was announced Sunday. Twenty of those games will be played within the borders of the state of Tennessee and 16 of those will be at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. Although the television schedule has not been completed at this time, at least 20 of the games will be televised with 11 of those games being shown nationally.
“Our schedule is once again as strong as anyone in the country is playing,” third-year head coach Bruce Pearl said. “One of the things we are trying to do is live by a saying Coach (Ray) Mears had, ‘Anywhere, Anyhow, Anytime, Bar Nothing.’ We don’t put up the kind of gaudy numbers that some people will in terms of wins because of our schedule. We played against both teams in last season’s national championship game and visit this year’s preseason No. 1 team in addition to several other high-profile games. The schedule is everything you could want. It will send my players the message that I think it will prepare us. As a team, I think we can handle it.”
At least 15 of the Vols’ potential opponents advanced to postseason play last year, including 10 squads that received NCAA Tournament invitations. Among Tennessee’s opponents are 2007 national champion Florida, runner-up Ohio State and a potential matchup with National Invitation Tournament champion West Virginia in the Legends Classic. Tennessee’s opponents combined to win 522 games in 2006-07 and had a .621 winning percentage.
UT will be on national television at least 11 times with nine games being shown on the ESPN family of networks and two games on CBS. Four of the Vols’ Southeastern Conference games will be shown on ESPN’s Tuesday night package. Lincoln Financial Sports will televise six league games and Fox Sports has scheduled four games. Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp return for their ninth season together calling each of Tennessee’s games for the Vol Radio Network.
The Vols will open a renovated Thompson-Boling Arena on Friday, Nov. 9, when the Temple Owls visit Knoxville for the season-opener. This will be the first meeting between UT and Temple since the legendary 11-6 Vols win on Dec. 15, 1973. The 17 combined points scored stands as an NCAA record that may never be broken and will probably be surpassed in the opening minutes of this year’s meeting.
Tennessee will serve as one of four opening-round sites for the eight-team Legends Classic Nov. 14-16. The other host sites for opening-round play are New Mexico State, Texas and West Virginia. Regardless of the outcome of the opening-round games, all eight participating teams will advance to the championship round, set for Nov. 23-24 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
UT’s non-conference slate features games against 2007 NCAA runner-up Ohio State (Jan. 19 in Knoxville), Sweet 16 participant Memphis (Feb. 23 at Memphis), and NCAA participants Xavier (Dec. 22 in Cincinnati) and Gonzaga (Dec. 29 in Seattle, Wash.). Additionally, the Vols will visit UT-Chattanooga for the first time since the 1982-83 season to play the Mocs on Dec. 4 and will meet Western Kentucky in Nashville Dec. 15.
The Vols open SEC play at home on Wednesday, Jan. 9, against Ole Miss and will also host SEC Western Division teams Arkansas (Feb. 13) and Auburn (Feb. 20) in addition to each of the SEC Eastern Division teams. The SEC Tournament is scheduled for March 13-16 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.
Season ticket renewals have been mailed and new season ticket orders will go on sale Sept. 10. Due to the renovations to Thompson-Boling Arena, it is anticipated that only 300-level season tickets will be available for the 2007-08 season. Those tickets will be available for less than $10 per game ($154 for the season). A limited number of Family Plan Season Tickets ($90 season ticket with a minimum purchase of four) in sections 312-314 will also be available. Individual game tickets will go on sale in October.